by Marion Nestle
Mar 6 2019

Seafood fraud again and again

Seafood fraud, long a problem (I wrote about it in What to Eat), is still a problem.  The latest evidence comes from a report from the New York State Attorney General.

Investigators tested fish and found widespread mislabeling of just about every type of fish except striped bass.

I wish the figure displayed percentages instead of absolute numbers, but you get the idea.  Examples:

  • Lemon sole       87.5%
  • Red snapper     67.0%
  • “Wild” salmon  27.6% (in quotes because some was farmed)

Overall, the investigation found 27% of seafood purchases to be mislabeled.  Some conclusions:

  • Mislabeling was worse at some supermarkets more than others; for example, five chains had mislabeling rates of 50% or higher.
  • Some fish are mislabeled more than others, especially lemon sole, red snapper, and grouper.
  • Substitutes were cheaper, less desirable fish, sometimes with higher levels of mercury.
  • Mislabeling was common throughout the state, but the mislabeling rate for New York City was nearly 43%.

If ever there was a call for caveat emptor, this is it.

What to do?  Ask.  Complain. Demand regulation.